Paloma Faith review – big-lunged retro soul with a peppering of politics

Paloma Faith.

‘My mum’s worried that I’m going to offend people and no one will ever go to my gigs again,” chuckles Paloma Faith, explaining why her tiptoe into political music on recent No 1 album, The Architect, isn’t overly reflected in her live show. There’s no place in the setlist for Politics of Hope, the narrative by the Guardian columnist Owen Jones from the album. Nor – despite Theresa May’s grand speech on Brexit hours earlier – does the singer make any reference whatsoever to the brassily anthemic Guilty (“I’m living in my worst fears / Begging you back through tears”), apparently about a remorseful leave voter.

However, there is far more political content than we’d generally get from a mainstream pop star whose big-lunged retro soul ticks the same boxes as Adele and Amy Winehouse. Faith explains how the ostensibly breezy pop Kings and Queens was inspired by her black childhood sweetheart’s experiences of police racial stereotyping; she refreshingly employs a female rhythm section and peppers her cheery Carry On banter with fiendish little snatches of polemic (“We’re all being brainwashed to believe that we’re isolated, but we’re not”).

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